by Michael Tennant, The New American:
A group of concerned parents is suing Washington-state officials over a new law that allows the state to provide gender-transition treatments to runaway children without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday by America First Legal (AFL), Engrossed Senate Substitute Bill (SB) 5599, which took effect July 23, “authorizes the state to refer a minor for ‘behavioral health services’ without defining what that entails, potentially meaning that a minor could receive — at least — mental health services that the parents would not endorse, and arguably also medical treatment that the parents would not authorize. There is no age minimum in SB 5599 for such services.”
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SB 5599 does this by amending laws regarding minors who present themselves at shelters or host homes.
Prior to July 23, shelters were required to notify parents with 72 hours of their child’s arrival at the shelter, telling them, among other things, “the whereabouts of the youth, a description of the youth’s physical and emotional condition, and the circumstances surrounding the youth’s contact with the shelter or organization.” The only exception to this requirement was when there were “compelling reasons” not to do so, specifically, if “notifying the parent or legal guardian will subject the minor to abuse or neglect.”
SB 5599, however, added a new “compelling reason”: “when a minor is seeking or receiving protected health care services,” which are defined as “gender affirming treatment,” i.e., drugs or surgery to alter the child’s sex-specific characteristics. Such treatments, of course, are life-altering and may lead to sterilization and other complications.
Furthermore, while the law requires shelters to report to the Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families any minors whose parents have not been notified because of “compelling reasons,” it may or may not require the department to notify parents. (The verbiage is unclear.) But it most definitely mandates that the department “offer to make referrals on behalf of the minor for appropriate behavioral health services,” though such services are not defined anywhere in state law. And it states that the department shall “offer services designed to resolve the conflict and accomplish a reunification of the family,” though, again, how quickly reunification is to be accomplished, and under what terms, is not defined. In fact, nothing in the law mandates that the department return the child to his parents at all.
“Remarkably, under the text and legislative history of SB 5599, it appears that parents of children with circumstances indicating that notifying the parent or legal guardian will subject the child to abuse or neglect will still receive notification from the department regarding their child,” observes the lawsuit. “In contrast, the parents of children without such circumstances who seek or receive protected health services will not receive notification.”